JZ says: I've been using the top 5 as voted on by the ROH message board. Board member Lonewolf runs the top 5, and he does a fabulous job. After each show (or double shot weekend), go to The ROH Message Board and vote for the top 5.
ROH WORLD CHAMPION: CM Punk (since 6.18.05)
ROH PURE CHAMPION: Samoa Joe (since 5.07.05)
2) Austin Aries
3) Nigel McGuinness
4) Christopher Daniels
5) Jimmy Rave
BG says: James Gibson has been graced with a fourth chance to win the ROH title, but he has to beat three men to get it. There is no way he's leaving the building knowing that CM Punk is the champion, and neither Christopher Daniels nor Samoa Joe is going to keep him from getting that title.
Austin Aries and Roderick Strong induct Matt Sydal into Generation Next because Jack Evans is off nursing injuries and they need soldiers in the war against the Embassy. Sydal is happy to have backup in ROH after being betrayed by the Fast Eddie and the Embassy. Sydal is a little too squeaky clean for Generation Next if you ask me, but I'll give him a chance.
JZ says: James Gibson is here to talk about rumors. He says he's had three chances to become the Ring of Honor World Champion, and hasn't been able to do so yet.
Generation Next is celebrating no-shirt Friday, as Austin Aries is cutting a promo. He puts over Matt Sydal, who could really use some work on his promos. I've refereed for him before, and he's a very nice guy. He's just a little goofy.
MATCH #1: Four Corner Survival Matt Stryker vs. Ace Steel vs. Delirious vs. Sterling Keenan
BG says: Again, no play-by-play for the useless four way. This is Keenan's first match in ROH since Retribution: Round Robin Challenge II in 2003. This match bothers me right away as they do the multi-man submission spot. Steel does me proud by decapitating everyone with his dropkick in the corner. Stryker comes off very vanilla in this match, as all three of his opponents have more charisma than he does. Some of Keenan's offense looks like it should hurt him more than his opponent. Steel wins the match with a sit-out powerbomb from the top to Delirious. This was the usual spot fest to get the crowd jacked up for the sow, and I'd say it did its job well enough.
JZ says: Dave Prazak and Lenny Leonard are the hosts this evening. This is Keenan's first appearance in ROH since April of 2003. Delirious is acting like his usual goofy self. Remember when Stryker won Field of Honor and got a shot at Joe? That seems like so long ago. This is just four guys doing stuff to each other. As much as I like Delirious, not even he can save this one. He actually hits Shadows over Hell on Ace but it only gets two. Ace then hits a sit-out powerbomb off the top rope to get three on Delirious at 5:23. Well, that was brief.
BG says: Christopher Daniels is upset with the dichotomy between his destiny and history. It seems that his destiny of becoming the ROH Champion has gone unrealized throughout his history with the company. Twice in his ROH career he's wrestled for 60 minutes in ROH title matches and come up short. Tonight he's making sure that Punk doesn't leave Dayton as the champion, and he's not even factoring Joe and Gibson into the equation. That may be a mistake.
JZ says: Christopher Daniels is here to talk about the main event tonight. The sirens in the background are pretty damn distracting. He says that he won't let Punk leave ROH with the title and that it is his destiny to win it.
MATCH #2: Spanky vs. Colt Cabana
BG says: This is Cabana's big return from England, where he went to learn the skills that Nigel McGuinness had studied as a boy. Spanky is sporting a big bootleg black back bandage. Say that ten times fast. They lock up and Spanky grabs a headlock. Cabana grabs Spanky's tush and Spanky bails. Spanky grabs a wristlock but Cabana slides out. He grabs a headlock and hits a shoulder block and they trade armdrags. They crisscross the ring until Spanky hits the mat. Cabana catches him with a kick in the butt. They crisscross again but Spanky runs out of breath. They go again and Spanky misses a legdrop. Cabana hits an atomic drop and a chop to the ass. He hits a butt butt and Spanky bails. Cabana follows him out with a tomahawk chop. Back in the ring Cabana gets a roll up for 2. Spanky comes back with a chop and Cabana takes offense. Spanky offers an apology only to turn on Cabana but Cabana gets a roll up for 2. He gets another for 2. He throws some hard chops but Spanky comes back with a leg lariat. He hits a tornado DDT for 2. He hits a flatliner for 2. He climbs to the top and hits the frog splash for 1. Cabana rolls over and gets 2. Cabana hits an enziguiri and a superkick for 2. Cabana gets a very complicated roll up with a bridge for the win after a great reversal sequence. Fun little comedy match here.
Spanky congratulates Cabana after the match and starts to make his way to the locker room. CM Punk meets him on the way and comes to the ring. Spanky asks Punk for a title shot before he leaves. Punk says he'd love to, but since Spanky is going to be going to Velocity and Punk will be going to Raw he doesn't see them having a chance to wrestle. Spanky, being verbally lashed, goes to the back. Punk goes on to say that the only reason ROH still comes to Dayton is because he had a classic match against Joe there and tickets started selling. He's going to take the title with him when he leaves because he built the company.
JZ says: Cabana pointing out the jackass in the crowd is a great way to start the match and reinforces the view that he is the funniest guy in Ring of Honor. They do some comedy stuff to start off, as neither guy appears to feel like taking a bump. Not that I blame them. They do the criss-cross spot that has never made sense, and then they do it again. Spanky stops to catch his breath, and then they resume. More comedy stuff and rollups follow, making me a happy viewer. Cabana gets the win with a rollup at 8:25. That was cute, harmless entertainment, but too short to be much else.
But wait, it's the music of CM Punk, who's coming down with a nice pink shirt on. Spanky says he wants a shot at the title. Punk says Spanky will be on Velocity while he is on Monday Night Raw. So instead of sticking up for himself, Spanky leaves. That was pointless. Punk says he made Ring of Honor and is taking it with him.
MATCH #3: ROH Tag Team Title Match BJ Whitmer & Jimmy Jacobs vs. Nigel McGuinness & Chad Collyer
BG says: Collyer pinned Jacobs at Nowhere to Run to get this title shot for Beer & Girls. HUSS beats scissors, so Jacobs and Nigel start. Jacobs grabs a headlock but Nigel tosses him off. Nigel tosses Jacobs away on a lock up but gets slapped. Jacobs slaps him again and clobbers him down. Nigel hits a headbutt to the gut and tags to Collyer. Collyer hits a European uppercut but Jacobs comes back with a crossbody for 2. Whitmer tags in and goes to work on Collyer's arm. He hits an armdrag into an armbar and tags to Jacobs. Jacobs comes in with a double stomp to the arm and they clobber Collyer down. Jacobs hits an elbow drop for 2. Collyer catches Jacobs with a stun gun for 2. Nigel tags in and hits a hammerlock DDT for 2. Collyer tags in and hits a shoulder breaker for 2. Nigel tags in and hits the rebound clothesline for 2. Collyer starts brawling with Whitmer and the challengers send Jacobs into Whitmer in the corner. Nigel lifts Jacobs up and tosses him into Whitmer. Collyer suplexes Whitmer and Nigel suplexes Jacobs onto Whitmer. Nigel elbow drops Whitmer and Collyer monkey flips Jacobs onto Whitmer. Collyer double stomps Jacobs and then tags in legally. He climbs to the top but Whitmer knocks him down and spears Nigel. Whitmer hiptosses Jacobs into his corner and makes the legal tag. The crowd reaction to that was funny. Whitmer cleans house and hits a brainbuster on Collyer for 2. Jacobs hits a flying forearm and then Whitmer tosses him into Collyer for 2. Whitmer hits a suplex on Nigel and then suplexes Jacobs onto Nigel. Whitmer tries to monkey flip Jacobs onto Nigel but he overshoots. Whitmer tosses Nigel to the floor. The champs go for the doomsday hurricanrana but Collyer blocks and hits a nasty German suplex on Whitmer. Nigel hits the Tower of London on Jacobs and it gets 2 for Collyer when Jacobs gets his foot on the bottom rope. Collyer sets Jacobs on the top turnbuckle but Whitmer catches him and the champs hit the super Contra Code for the win. This match was all sizzle and no steak, so to speak.
JZ says: McGuinness and Collyer got this title shot due to Collyer beating Jacobs in a singles match and their tag team win over CM Punk & Colt Cabana. Nigel tries to bully Jacobs in the beginning, so Jacobs responds with slaps to the face. This is the debut of Chad Collyer's Mohawk. I've refereed for three of the four guys in this match (only missing Nigel, who I at least have a picture with). Whitmer and Jacobs have six tag team title reigns between the two of them. The referee loses control of this one as all four men spend an extensive amount of time in the ring. Jacobs takes a beating until Whitmer comes in and hiptosses him back into their corner so he can make the tag. The crowd really isn't into this at all. Super Contra Code gets the victory for the champions at 10:49. That was a good effort, but severely disjointed and pretty heatless.
Outdoor Promo Again
BG says: Samoa Joe says he dedicated 21 months of his life to the ROH World Championship, and in the span of two months Punk has disrespected everything he did for the title. He's taking back the belt and ending Punk's reign tonight.
JZ says: Samoa Joe gets his turn to cut a promo about tonight's main event. He says that Punk has disgraced the belt that he spent 21 months building up in just two.
MATCH #4: Six Man Tag Team War Jimmy Rave, Alex Shelley & Abyss vs. Austin Aries, Roderick Strong & Matt Sydal
BG says: This is Abyss' second appearance for ROH. He first appeared at The Battle Lines are Drawn aligning himself with Special K. I'd say the Embassy is a step up. Daizee Haze should not be allowed to come out with Generation Next. Strong and Rave start the match. Strong goes to work on the arm and keeps Rave on the mat. He hits the chinlock but Rave powers out. Strong catches Rave with a chop. Shelley tags in and gets taken to the mat. Aries tags in and goes to work on Shelley's arm. Strong and Aries hit a Hart Attack for 2. Shelley hits a short-arm clothesline but Aries comes back with the rebound elbow for 2. He hits the slingshot splash and the Asai moonsault for 2. Shelley takes Aries down with the Border City Stretch but Aries reverses to the fishhook submission. Shelley makes the ropes. Aries hits the Finlay roll and tags to Sydal. Sydal comes in with a legdrop for 2. Shelley hits him with a back suplex and tags to Abyss. Sydal tries to keep his distance from Abyss and kicks away at him. Abyss tosses him up and brings him down but misses a blind charge in the corner and the reinforcements charge. Aries hits a dropkick and Strong comes in with a forearm. Sydal hits him with a knee strike. Abyss blocks a sunset flip and press slams Aries onto Sydal. You get a nice shot of Abyss mostly without his mask there. Rave tags in and stomps away. Shelley tags in and they double-team Sydal. Shelley puts on a brutal chinlock but Strong breaks it up. Sydal hits a legdrop on Shelley and a dropkick on Rave. Aries tags in and cleans house. He hits the Power drive elbow on Shelley for 2. Abyss pulls Aries to the floor and beats him up. Back in the ring Shelley gets 2. He puts on a seated abdominal stretch but Aries powers out. Shelley tosses him into the Embassy corner and tags to Rave. Rave keeps Aries from his corner and tags to Abyss. He trades chops with Aries and knocks him to the mat. He hits an avalanche clothesline and tags to Shelley. Shelley hits a snap suplex. Rave tags in and they double-team Aries for 2. Shelley tags back in and hits a dropkick to Aries while Rave holds him in an abdominal stretch. Nana chokes Aries with the Ghana flag while the referee is distracted. Shelley puts on a bear hug and falls right into the Gen Next corner and Strong tags in. The referee misses it and won't allow it. Seconds later he misses Rave not making the tag but allows it. Lame. Rave puts on a bear hug but Aries fights out and makes the tag to Strong. Strong kills Rave with chops and Shelley with backbreakers. He goes for the double knee gutbuster on Abyss but can't get him up. Abyss hits him with a German suplex. Sydal and Aries come in and Generation Next triple-team him down. Strong dropkicks him out of the ring. Sydal hits a standing moonsault on Shelley and Aries kicks him in the face. Sydal moonsaults onto Abyss on the floor. In the ring Rave spears Strong. He goes for the Rave Clash but Aries catches him with a clothesline. It gets 2 for Strong. Strong hits him with the half nelson backbreaker and tags to Aries. Aries hits the 450 splash for the win. Nonstop action here that hopefully will set the standard for the feud. After the match Abyss destroys Generation Next.
JZ says: Daizee Haze coming out with a big flower really kind of ruins the coolness of Generation Next. This is Abyss's first match in ROH. Strong and Rave start it off. Abyss looks HUGE in here against Sydal. This one's moving about a mile a minute. Aries's power drive elbow is probably my least favorite move in wrestling right now. The Embassy cheats like crazy and Gen Next does all their high impact stuff. A big brawl breaks out and Aries pins Rave with the 450 at 16:50. Wow, I didn't type much about that match because I was too busy watching all the coolness. Matt Sydal has now earned a spot in Generation Next. Abyss doesn't care though, as he hits him with a huge black hole slam.
BG says: Dave Prazak tries to interview a couple students from the second ROH wrestling school class but Nana sicks Abyss on them. Nana and Shelley talk about all the horrible things the Embassy will do to Generation Next as the students screams haunt us from off camera. Gritty stuff, I like it.
JZ says: The ROH Straight Shootin' Series has a lot of great shoot interviews, so check them out at rohwrestling.com.
Dave Prazak is with two students from the second class, but Nana busts in with Abyss and takes them out. "The Embassy forever, and let's go have some steak!"
MATCH #5: Grudge Match Low Ki vs. Jay Lethal
BG says: Lethal has been on the losing end of this feud in a big way. He rushes the ring and they brawl. Lethal hits a pair of dropkicks but misses a third. He hits a clothesline but can't hit the dragon suplex. He hits a forearm and Ki bails. Lethal goes for a dive but Ki cuts him off. He starts chopping him but Lethal catches him with a leg lariat. Ki bails. Lethal follows him out with a suicide dive. Back in the ring Lethal hits a vertical suplex and an elbow drop for 2. Ki tosses him to the apron and hits him with a dropkick sending him to the floor. Ki follows him out and bodyslams him on the wood. Back in the ring Ki gets 2. He hits a gutbuster for 2. He chops Lethal harder than pretty much anything I've seen before. Lethal gets a roll up for 2. Ki hits a clothesline for 2. He puts on a legvice and rolls him over for 2. Lethal makes the ropes. The crowd dies as they trade strikes. Ki hits a snap mare and tosses him around by his hair. It gets 2. He hits the spazzy elbow drop for 2. He hits the double judo chop for 2. He hits an inverted side slam for 2. Lethal comes back with a back suplex for 2. They trade chops and stare each other down. That was pretty cool. Lethal hits the running suplex and gets all fired up. He climbs to the top turnbuckle and hits the diving headbutt for 2. He puts on a full nelson but Ki blocks the dragon suplex by grabbing the referee. He hangs Lethal in the Tree of Woe and double stomps him off the top. It gets 2 when Lethal gets his hand on the bottom rope. Ki climbs the ropes and Lethal crotches him with help from the referee. Ki sends Lethal out of the ring onto a table. Ki tries to double stomp onto him but misses Lethal and goes through himself. Lethal chops Ki into the crowd. They brawl about until the referee throws out the match. Well, the match was certainly hard-hitting and better than Lethal's singles match against Homicide, but it was nowhere near as good as previous matches between the two.
Lethal and Ki continue to brawl. Homicide joins in the attack and Lethal looks to be done for until Matt Hardy's music hits. Hardy beats on Homicide and Lethal and Ki brawl to the back. Some of the crowd gets on Hardy's case, so he talks circles around them. He tells Homicide that he came to ROH because he wants to fight talented wrestlers, and not greenhorns like Gene Snitsky. His catchphrase sucks, however.
JZ says: This one starts off right away, as the grudge between these two is immense. I remember when Mrs. Lethal slapped Low Ki back at Midnight Express Reunion. These guys hit each ridiculously hard. It's pretty painful to watch actually. The fight spills to the outside where Ki sets Lethal up on table and misses a double stomp off the apron. They're up in the bleachers now, fighting all over the building. Eventually Bruce Gray has enough and throws the match out at 15:56, so the match has no winner. But the fight is still on. Homicide comes out to beat up Lethal and gets a big pop. Matt Hardy comes out to even the odds and begin his match with Homicide, which is up next. The Ki versus Lethal match was pretty good for what it was.
MATCH #6: Matt Hardy vs. Homicide
BG says: The crowd is split right down the middle. Homicide slugs Hardy to start. Hardy grabs a headlock and shoulder blocks Homicide down. Homicide looks so small compared to Hardy. He gets a drop toehold and puts on a front facelock. Hardy escapes and goes to the leg but Homicide makes the ropes. Homicide goes to the eyes and slugs away. He hits a hurricanrana but Hardy comes back with a tilt-a-whirl slam for 2. Homicide ties up his leg but Hardy makes the ropes. Homicide drop toeholds him to the floor and follows him out with a suicide dive. He sends Hardy into the barricade. He gets back in the ring and crotches Hardy as he enters. He hits a neckbreaker and climbs to the top. He hits a diving headbutt to the gut for 2. He hits the chinlock but Hardy fights out. Homicide pulls him to the mat by his hair. He hits a kneedrop for 2. He rakes the back and chops him down. He hits a tornado DDT for 2. Hardy sets Homicide on the top rope and hits a superplex. He hits a roaring forearm and a bulldog for 2. He puts on a double underhook submission but Homicide makes the ropes. He hits the Side Effect for 2. He climbs to the top but Homicide crotches him. Hardy fights him off and hits the second rope legdrop. The crowd reacts poorly to the move but it still gets 2. He goes for the Twist of Fate but Homicide reverses to a northern lights suplex for 2. Homicide hits the lariat but it only gets 2. He goes for the Cop Killer but Hardy reverses to a Twist of Fate attempt. Homicide reverses that to an Ace Crusher for 2. Hardy hits Splash Mountain for 2. Low Ki comes back to ringside and gets on the apron. Homicide catches Hardy with an exploder. Jay Lethal comes out and brawls with Ki as Homicide wraps his hand with a chain. Lethal grabs the chain and Homicide falls back into a roll up to give Hardy the win. I understand that ROH wants to protect their own guys as they go under an outsider, but this is two in a row where outside interference has given Hardy a win. Solid match otherwise.
JZ says: The crowd is pretty split in their support. Hardy looks really large in person, much more so than one would expect (we saw him at the Perkins next to our hotel). Hardy looks pretty good for not wrestling very often over the summer. Anyone see his match with AJ Styles from IWC? I'd like to know how that was. Leonard and Prazak are talking about how Edge called Homicide before the match to give him tips. Homicide hits a nice Tope Con Hilo. A few minutes later he nails Hardy with the Lariat but it only gets two. Homicide sets up for the Cop Killa, but Hardy reverses it into the Twist of Fate which is countered by Homicide into an Ace Crusher. That was cool. Splash Mountain by Hardy gets two. Low Ki is out to interfere, but Lethal comes out to neutralize Ki. Lethal and Homicide play tug of war with a chain, and the confusion allows Hardy to pin Homicide with a school boy at 17:37. The crowd mostly boos, but I thought that was a pretty good match.
BG says: A video package chronicling Punk's title win and reign precedes our main event. The fight by Gibson, Joe and Daniels to keep the belt in ROH is shown. This was a pretty phenomenal video package, especially when compared to earlier ones done by the company. Hopefully they can keep this up.
JZ says: We get a SWANK video package detailing the events leading up to tonight's World Title match. Wow, they need to have one of those for every main event match.
MATCH #7: ROH World Title Elimination Match CM Punk vs. Christopher Daniels vs. James Gibson vs. Samoa Joe
BG says: The crowd bids Punk farewell before the match even begins. Then they say thank you, just to piss me off. The babyfaces huddle up before the match, but Joe and Daniels can't seem to get along. Joe and Punk start. Punk immediately tags out to Gibson. They circle each other and Punk tags in for Joe. See, Punk knows he can beat Gibson, but not Joe. They work the mat and Gibson gets a hold of Punk's arm. Punk gets a takedown for 1. Gibson grabs a headlock but Punk shoulder blocks him down. Daniels tags in for Gibson and Gibson isn't happy about it. He locks up with Punk and grabs a headlock. They fight to a stalemate on the mat so Joe asks for Daniels to tag him. Daniels reluctantly obliges, much to Punk's dismay. Punk tries to get Gibson in for him but has no luck. He tries the same with Daniels with the same result. Punk grabs a headlock and looks to repeat his 2004 success, but Joe immediately hits a side suplex to escape. He starts on the Big Joe Combo but Punk bails. Punk dodges the suicide dive but Gibson nails him with a somersault off the apron. Back in the ring Punk crawls between Joe's legs and tags Daniels. Joe wins a test of strength against Daniels but gets caught in a headlock. Joe slaps Daniels into the corner and kicks him down. Daniels gets a takedown and puts the headlock back on. Joe escapes and Daniels tags to Gibson. Joe misses a chop in the corner and gets chopped. They knuckle up and Gibson gets a takedown for 1. He puts on a front facelock but Joe reverses to the palate lock. He puts on a nerve hold and switches to a seated abdominal stretch. Gibson fights out only to get his legs swept. Joe misses a senton and Gibson comes back with one of his own. They trade chops and Joe takes him down with a knee strike. Daniels tags in for Joe. Daniels hits a bodyslam and a kneedrop for 2. Gibson works over the arm. Daniels comes back with a legvice but Gibson reverses to a hammerlock. Punk tags in for Gibson but ends up getting double-teamed by Gibson and Daniels. Joe gets his shots in too. Daniels gets a front facelock and hits a vertical suplex for 1. He wrenches the neck for 2. Punk makes the slap tag to Joe. Joe hits a running knee in the corner on Daniels and washes his face. Daniels comes back with a pair of forearms. Joe knocks Daniels down but gets tagged out by Punk. Punk hits a Big Joe Combo variation and a back suplex for 2. He puts on a chinlock but Daniels fights out. Punk puts on a submission in the ropes which Joe breaks up with a dropkick. Punk falls to the floor so Gibson rolls him back into the ring. Daniels tries to tag to Joe but Punk blocks it. He puts on a bow and arrow lock but Daniels flips over for 2. Punk puts on a Boston crab but Gibson comes in and breaks it up. Punk blocks a blind charge and tosses Daniels to the floor. He sets Daniels up for the Ole kick so Joe stands in the way. Gibson corners Punk so he runs back into the ring. He hits a seated dropkick on Daniels for 2. He puts on a chinlock but Daniels fights out. Punk goes for a split legged moonsault but hits knees. Daniels hits the STO and tags Gibson. Gibson hits a back bodydrop but ends up getting atomic dropped. Gibson hits a clothesline and a second rope legdrop for 2. He goes for the tiger driver but Punk reverses. Gibson dropkicks him into Joe's corner and then accidentally hits Joe who falls to the floor. He tosses Punk to the floor and checks on Joe before diving onto Punk. Daniels comes out with the Arabian press. Joe gets back in the ring and comes out with the suicide dive. They got a crazy camera shot of the dive.
Things start to go crazy here as Joe rolls Gibson back into the ring. Gibson blocks a blind charge but gets sent into the post. Daniels hits Joe with a flatliner, and with the referee occupied with them Punk sneaks up and plasters Gibson's face with a chair shot. Gibson falls to the floor and bleeds all over. The match pauses while referees and officials help him to the back. The match gets going again with Punk and Joe trading forearms. Punk decides to change to kicks, which is a mistake as Joe kicks him senseless and gets 2. Joe hits a powerslam for 2. Punk blocks a chop and hits the Pepsi Twist. He hits the Crooked Moonsault for 2. He hits the mule kick so Daniels tags in for Joe. He gets a roll up for 2. Punk gets a roll up for 2. Daniels hits a DVD for 2. Punk dodges the moonsault and hits Welcome to Chicago for 2. Daniels hits a uranage and the triple jump moonsault for 2. Punk hits a chin breaker and tags to Joe. Joe hits a big boot for 2. He hits a powerbomb for 2. He puts on the STF and turns it into a crossface. Daniels gets his foot on the ropes. He hits Joe with a Samoan drop and an Asai moonsault for 2. He puts on the Koji Clutch but Joe makes it to the ropes. Daniels goes for Angel's Wings but Joe blocks and hits the Thousand Hand Slap. Daniels gets a roll up which Joe reverses to the choke. Daniels puts his foot on the ropes but Punk knocks it off before the referee sees it and he passes out. With Daniels eliminated Punk runs in. Daniels comes in and Joe holds Punk. Daniels misses and hits Joe with an enziguiri. Punk low blows Daniels and rolls Joe up to eliminate him. Punk has seemingly won the match, but the crowd will not have it and they loudly chant for Gibson. In the meantime, Joe and Daniels brawl with each other to the back. Referees break up Joe and Daniels as the crowd goes back to chanting for Gibson. The commentators write Gibson's presence off as a lost cause, but his music hits and the bloody man makes his way to the ring! Punk stomps him down and tosses him to the floor. Gibson gets right back up and comes off the top with a crossbody for 2. Punk hits him with a TKO and pounds away. Gibson dropkicks the knee but Punk comes back and tosses him back to the floor. Gibson crotches him on the barricade and smacks his leg with a chair. Back in the ring Punk sets Gibson on the top turnbuckle. Gibson reverses a hurricanrana to a roll up for 2 and immediately puts on the Trailer Hitch. Punk makes the ropes. Punk hits the Shining Wizard for 2 when Gibson gets his arm on the bottom rope. Punk puts the Anaconda Vice on but Gibson makes the ropes. Gibson gets a crucifix pin for 2. He hits the tiger driver for 2. He sets Punk on the top turnbuckle but gets caught and Punk goes for the Pepsi Plunge. Gibson blocks it and hits a super tiger driver for the three count, the win, and the title. His reaction is absolutely priceless, and having been there I can say that you could feel the positive energy throughout the room.
There were so many stories told so well in this match. You had Joe and Daniels and their quiet dissension. You had Punk trying to run out the clock and Gibson trying frantically to not let it happen. You had Punk being reluctant to fight Daniels and terrified to fight Joe while being comfortable fighting Gibson because he'd actually beaten him in the past. Even the little touches, like Joe quickly blocking Punk's headlock, Punk thinking he'd beaten ROH once and for all by finally pinning Joe, and Gibson finally hitting the tiger driver off the top to win made this match seem like a reward for those of us who have paid attention during Punk's reign. I want to rate this even higher but there were definite lulls in the action.
Spanky comes out and congratulates his best friend to really make the moment feel special. He's followed out by all of the babyface wrestlers and Gibson's wife. Spanky gets on the microphone and asks for a title shot. Gibson approves and cracks open a beer. Gibson does the usual, putting over ROH, the fans, and the wrestlers. He shows Punk respect, and gets it back. The crowd thanks Punk and we get a babyface turn to REALLY end this show happily.
JZ says: Most of the crowd chants "Thank You Punk" since this is Punk's second-to-last night in Ring of Honor, honest. Jimmy Bower replaces Lenny Leonard on commentary for this all important main event. All three of the challengers not only want to win the title, but want to be the one to eliminate Punk. Gibson starts off and does some wrestling with Punk, until Daniels comes in and they do some more of that wrestling stuff. No one has the advantage, so Samoa Joe asks Daniels to tag him in. Punk tries to bail, but Daniels and Gibson won't allow him to tag out. All three take their turns on Punk, and we get to see everyone take on everyone for a little bit. Punk is really trying to wear the clock down, as a draw of any kind works in his favor. Gibson charges at Daniels in the corner and misses, going shoulder first into the post. With his head exposed, Punk nails him in the head with a steel chair, taking Gibson out of the match. Daniels is checking on a bloody Gibson on the floor. I think that makes the winner pretty obvious. We learn that Gibson has a concussion and is questionable for tomorrow night, let alone this evening's match. Daniels is eliminated several minutes later due to Joe's STF. Daniels had his foot on the ropes, and Punk pushed it off so the referee did not see it. Daniels comes back in the ring and tries to give Punk the enziguiri, only he hits Joe instead, leading to Punk rolling up Joe to eliminate him. It looks as though Punk is the winner. Daniels and Joe brawl on the outside. The crowd chants "we want Gibson!" But wait Gibson's music comes on, and Gibby is on his way back out. They do some wrestling with some near falls, leading to Punk going for the Pepsi Plunge, only to have Gibson reverse it to a Super Tiger Driver to get the victory at 50:39. Gibson's reaction to winning is awesome, and Spanky is out to help celebrate the moment. The rest of the babyfaces come out as well, along with Gibson's wife. Spanky says some stuff, and then Gibson makes a victory speech, complete with Punk's blessing at the end. What a great way to cap off a great match. I honestly would have preferred Daniels to win, but Gibson's celebration alone makes it worth it. You know, I had this rated at ****1/4, but after reading Brad's review, he's convinced me.
BG says: No brainer here, as Gibson started the match with very little heat but won everyone over in the process of winning the ROH title.
JZ says: I would love to give it to James Gibson on sentimentality alone, but there's something that tells me I want to give it to Punk. If it wasn't for his brilliant title reign, the way he handled his three main challengers while also turning back upstarts Jay Lethal and Roderick Strong, the main event wouldn't have been as emotional and vindicating for Gibson. So it's CM Punk.
Coming soon will be our review of Punk: The Final Chapter!
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The 411: BG says: You have to dig a show where the lowest match is 2 stars. There's no reason for any ROH fan to miss this, as you have the Punk reign coming to an end excellently (although I would have done it differently) in a great match, and you have a six-man tag that is fun the whole way through. The rest of the matches are all solid-good and the DVD goes by in what feels like no time.
JZ says: A decent show to start with that builds to a fantastic main event and a rare ROH World Title change, Redemption gets an easy recommendation.